When your parent needs one or both of their knees surgically replaced, you may find yourself in an unfamiliar position. If you were not already assisting and caring for them regularly, the recovery process from knee replacement surgery will likely move you into that position. Before you panic and worry about what to expect from their recovery process, get to know some of the ways that you will be able to help them through it successfully. Then, you can rest easy knowing what your role can be in their recovery and how you can be there for them.
Get The House Arranged Ahead Of Time
After your elderly parent comes home from having their knee replaced, they will be using a walker to assist them as they move throughout the house. The walker will help keep them upright and stable but will also help to not put full pressure on the replaced knee as the tissues heal.
Using the walker and the recovery process in general will limit your parent's maneuverability and the types of movements they can make though. Walking up and down stairs, for example, will not be an option for them following surgery, and if they have other mobility issues, stairs may not be an option for several months or ever.
As such, you may need to help them get ramps installed if there are stairs leading to the entrance of the house. You could also need to relocate their bedroom from an upper floor to the main floor of the house (temporarily or permanently). Another issue will be widening walkways and de-cluttering to make it possible for your parent to get around the main floor using a walker. This can involve rearranging furniture, getting bulky rugs out of the way, and general tidying up around the house.
Getting Them Up And Moving After Surgery
Because your parent will be in some pain following their knee replacement surgery, it is very likely that they will want to rest a great deal of the time. However, you will need to be there to help remind them that resting too much can be detrimental to their recovery.
If the knee that has been operated on is not strengthened and stretched regularly, tough scar tissue will develop that will prevent your parent from having a good range of motion and will make their recovery process much more difficult. You may need to be their tough love coach when it comes to getting up and walking around every few hours and doing their physical therapy exercises. The more they follow their doctor and physical therapist's orders, the better off they will be in the long run. You can help by motivating them and by doing the exercises with them.
Now that you know a few of the ways you can help your elderly parent recover from their knee replacement surgery, you can better provide the support and care they need as they go through the process. For more information on what to expect after a surgery, contact a physician like Joseph P. Spott, DO or another professional.